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Leigh’s Story

My name is Leigh(Lee) and I am 33 years old. I enjoy time with my friends, being alone, reading, journaling, music, movies and crafts. My beautiful baby girls’ father and I broke up a few months ago but we still get together and talk numerous times a day. He is almost 9 years younger then I am but you don’t choose who you fall in love with. I haven’t had the best time of it over the past year. I am working on it but some days are so much better than others.

I got pregnant in August and didn’t know about it until November. I had a “period” in September so we that nothing of it. I was also getting ready to have my first surgery at the age of 32 at the beginning of October so we weren’t worried about whether or not I was pregnant because I was told that because of nerves I could skip a period. During this time I also had no morning, afternoon, or evening sickness.

Well, when my period didn’t come in November we took a pregnancy test. Positive. We really didn’t say much. We had talked a few months prior to this and we decided that we would wait until we were more financially stable and I was just getting ready to go to my doctor to put me back on birth control. That night he just held me because we weren’t sure what we were going to do. After a few days (Thanksgiving) we talked about having an abortion. I went to 2 appointments but the baby would have none of it!! This was one baby that was going to make their presence known!!

So, we talked about adoption and my boyfriend was the one who brought up open-adoption. In fact he would only go with an open adoption. He said that if we were unable to raise the baby then we would chose the parents and have contact with them and see the baby grow up. Plus we would be able to answer any questions that would arise. I have chronic high blood pressure and it rose even higher with the pregnancy. I finally went to an OB/GYN in January. I was given 2 due dates because of my “period” in September: May 16, or June 16. I got carpel tunnel in both wrists because of the pregnancy. I was also going to have non-stress tests at the hospital every week because of the blood pressure. I had an ultrasound to see how the baby was doing and to find out the sex but there was a foot in the way every time. A friend of mine had told me that I was having a boy, I can say that this was the first pregnancy that she was wrong.

I started looking for an adoption agency and I found one that fit with everything that we were looking for. Bright Futures only deals with open adoption and I just liked what I read about them. I was in the process of getting information from them when, because of my blood pressure, I had to take a leave of absence from work in early April.

I woke up on the 15th of April and I could not close my mouth all the way nor could I blink. Called the doctor and she told me to get to the nearest hospital just in case. A few hours later I was told that I had Bell’s Palsy and that I was being transferred down to my OB’s hospital. So the next day I had another ultrasound and I was all ready 2cm dilated and I had lost half of the fluid in the uterus because of my blood pressure so I would be induced the next day. I called my boyfriend to let him know what was going on and I talked to a good friend of mine and she came down. We didn’t tell many people, in fact no one in my family knows and only a few friends of ours were informed. I didn’t gain a lot of weight so when you looked at me you couldn’t tell. I was able to tell a nurse off that night because she said that I was only giving the baby up for adoption because I did not know who the father was. I was so happy to fill her in!!

I was induced at 8am the following day. My water was broke at 10:30am. The labor wasn’t too bad, the pain was bearable but then the epidural didn’t take so the pain was a little more. At 3pm, I was given an update and told that I was only 3cm dilated. My OB gave me until 4pm to make any progress or I was having a C-section. It was then at each contraction the baby’s heart beat would drop under 100 so at 4pm I was told I was having a C-section. My friend went for a smoke and called my boyfriend to fill him in on the details. I remember being wheeled into the room and waking up as they brought HER around so that I could see her. 5lb 12oz, 5pm 4/17/04 baby girl. I still have to ask my friend what happened because after I saw her I passed back out and woke up in Recovery. The agency went and faxed all the paperwork to me and I faxed it all back to them. Eleanor came up and she brought some profiles with her so I went through them and found 4 couples; I knew who my first choice was but I wanted to see what my boyfriend thought. We chose the same couple as our first choice. I didn’t see her while I was in the hospital up until our last day. Eleanor and the hospital social worker came in to see me and asked if I wanted to have some time with her.

I had about in hour in which I fed her, held her, and told her how much she was loved by my boyfriend and myself. I got some pictures of her with
me and she looks so much like her daddy. We were both discharged that same day. She went to a foster home that the agency used and I went home with 2 friends. My boyfriend told me later that day that he didn’t see her because he would have just taken her home then and there and would have worked as many jobs possible to give her everything. As much as I love him, that would have killed him and we would only be selfish and we couldn’t do that to her. I talked to the couple that Saturday and we decided on a name: Jessica Leigh.

We met them a few days later and decided right then at the lunch that we would “pick” them to be the parents of our little girl. A few days after that we signed the papers giving up our right to be the parents for her. That part still feels like a dream and Eleanor has told me that she has never seen anyone handle that like we did. She said that we were so strong and “settled” with our decision.

Louise and Barry are wonderful people. I get letters and pictures every other month and I can call and write to them any time that I want. We sent her Christmas presents and presents for her first birthday. After a few months of working with Eleanor and getting over the range of feelings that I had been going thru Eleanor thought that I was ready to meet them again.

In early April 2005, I held my girl in my arms again!!! Louise and Barry are wonderful. I cannot say enough about them. When we went to go leave after the visit they both hugged and thanked me again for choosing them and letting them be her parents. I look at her pictures and I see my Barry; he looks at the pictures and sees me. I now look forward to the agency picnic this way if we all decide to go I can hold her in my arms again if we haven’t met before that. I had a few stories about adoption. I was told that
we were making a big mistake because she would hate us because we were there in her life but not her parents. I was also told that we should have just done a closed adoption, we would all be better off. Now that I can look back, I am glad that we went with an open adoption. Yes, we may not be her “parents” but we will always be there for her no matter what.

I am finally getting back to “myself” I haven’t felt like myself in a long while. I still see Eleanor every couple of weeks to keep me on an even keel and I have the strong support of my friends. Barry and I may not be together anymore but we have a tie that binds us for the rest of our lives.